Chapter 31365562

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Chapter NumberXIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article31365562
Full Date1898-05-21
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count1870
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleQueanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)
Trove TitleLove's Conquest
article text

S OHAPTER?:a IV. It is possible that more than one:farmer's daughter, engaged with bare arms in making the butter that was to go. up to Castlehurab, would have said that her lot was a hard one compared with that of Ltdy Adela, who could drive out ina carriage and pair when she liked, and had dresies and hats from Paris, and nothing to do but to please herself from morning to night ;. but appearances.are delusiva, and in point of actual happiness the inequality was not what it seemed. Adela would gladly h ve chanied places with the roughest f.,rmr's daughter:upon the estate. For ten year--ever since she was sixteen - Adela .had virtuailly been her 'father's housekeeper; and the task of min aging economically a large and turbulent household, with such a passionate and un ruasonable master at. the head, was a strain which had':lbrne hieavily- upon heri- ý Her duties vere .so many, and h.er. difficulties, so great that it wivisinevitable that she should look fagged and worn'; bit'alite had' a fund of inidoniitbale pluck that had never faiiled. her, and, she haul struggled on. Her physical strength, however, would'?inot hold -out so long as her courage; und one autumn morn ing, some weeks after the memorable time of Sthe cricket match and thse Throgmor0on's 'd.,nce, A-lelta lanced at hetself inri the glass with rather a sad smile as she put 'the final touchoe to her toilette before going down staits to breakfast, ' Greville is,right,' she said, half aloud. ' I have lost my good looks to such an extent that I should not do my family credit even as a scarecrow; and I am changing for the worse every day.' The-face thus unfavorably critioized was indeed very much changed from that which had sodstrontly attracted Captain Esmonde at the Throgmortons'. dance, and 'the pale delicacy of the complexion had given place to atwan.paillr that spoke of ill health.' The only beaury that seemed left to her, was in her eyes, which.were' still wonderfully clear and bright. 'Yes, 'I am certainly " objiob," as Hod getei would put it,' said Adela' to herself, as she descended the stairs. ' 'However, it does not signify. It is all in the day's work,. as the man said when the' lion ate him; and whether I look plain or p'Fety matters very little now.' She had braced herself up o a fictitious cheerfulness that morning, and hoped, by forcing :.herself 'to energetic exertion, to get through the duties of the day with tolerable efliciency; btb fate was at.intt her. .'Lord Tressilian.cuilne:downz to. bhe ;kfaset moro ill temnpered than 'usual, and, as l-e chose fr the thbrme of hi-i discon soe the 'subject which above all others .'Adela wished to banish from her ihoitghts,. she found'it imposiible to lister with equanimity.' - Of course Estnonde has given you: up now,'. said Tressilian, pursuing :the subject with very little regard to the signs of ianoy ance and agitation.in'her face. ' It'is three * weeks and more siihce he left and' not a .word., ,Well, you have odne consolation, att any rate -it is nobody's: fault .but your- owh; n *+'I should have. thought that you would have preferred him to a fellow like Blunt who''is twice his age, with no position and a much smaller fortune ; bit there is no aocounting for, .wt oman's taste ' Mr Blunt was a self-made man who-had lately come to settle in the county, and, as lie was very wealthy, Tressilian had at once fixed upon him as a desisable match for his sister. ITe.had made his fortune in. coal, and was now the owner of several:mines in Staffordshire; but though the simplicity and integrity of his nature made. him respected by every one, he had not the advantages of birth and edication which give the ttamp of polish and refinemenb. At the mention of. his name Adele could no ,longer keep silent. 'Yyou' need not concern yourself about it, 'Greville,' she said with indignant eyes-;; And' pray do not imagine I shall marry Mr Blunt; I +do nob think .I shall' mary at all; and certainly I shell notmnarty him 1" ' Her brother laughed insultingly. ' You intend to be an old maid, do you i That is a likely thing I But %e all know what a woman means :when she- siys she' doesn't intend to marry.. You are down on your luck just now because of Eamionres's defection. . Oh, yes, you may flash but, but I know, well enough that you liked him, and that you tate sorry now that you rcfu ed him. You played. the -fool' in that buaitiess and threw away your chances; but you are not .going to do it again if I know it I' Adela made no reply, and rose from the btable with disdainful coroposure. ' Now, look here,' continued the Viseount, turuiung in his chair to throw a parting sneer after her and iquariig his elbows as he rested his hands ttupon his knees-l' if you are bent upon being an old m 'id you will only have to wait a little longer and you will h,.ve your wish easily enough. You must marry, and nmake haste hbout it, too. How do you mean ho live when the governor his gone? He won't last long now; and when I'm master here yon'll find yburself in a pretty tight place, I car promise you, if you haven't found

a horne for yourself by .then.' Lord Tressilisn never hesitated to resorb to this. retort, for he know thab bhe truth it coutained was one of the most powerful influences he could bring to bear upon his sister. Adela was perfectly aware that her father's income.barely sufficed to meet the enormous drains upon it by the mortg-0ges and incumbrances incur;ed in the past ; and the keeping up of ia lairge end expensive establilhment had made it impossible for him to make any provision for his daughters. Adele had enough money of her own to pay for her dross, so that she had been indepen

dent of an allowance; but it was not enough to support her, and the thought of the future' made her heart-sick. When she oft the breakfast-room, her philosophy had lnmost deserted her; but the duties of the day had still to be faced. She had first to intervi. w the lhousekeep-.r, who wias a pe:son of uncertain moods, ,equiring the most careful and judicious management; then she had to give orders for the day to the differert members of the househo!d, listen to ?their cmp'aints, and make up their differences as beat she could. Then, return ing to the library with a pile of billy to look over and docker, she had half a dozen notes to write and a troublesome hiiainesa letter to answer, and when .12. ''clbck'struck it was lime for her to pay her mdrning visit to the Earl. It was not his habit to come doawn stairs until late in the day, :.and he did. not, get up until eleven; .but at mhidday he. was readyt'o see Adefa, and, if sahedid nob.appear punctually:? he ':would`' work himself> into a state of fume antd ffury that -made tiheinter. view far from pleasant. On this occasion she .was punctual to. the minute; but as soon .as.she entered the room she saw that something ha. Iocctirred 'to upsetbher father. She had to tell him whata :let tera hid come, who had accepted invita tions and who had irefused, wlhat there "was for luncheon and dinner, what guests were. coming, and what arr-ngements had been made for. the day. Everything was found fault with, scoffed at, and scouted. . Adela had learned to go through this daily ordeal ;with patience; but it was unusually trying `this morning, and she was ~thankful; when: the sound of the luncheod.go?g gave;her "inn: .excuse for getting away,s As ihe was h leaving the room, the Earl called her back. ' You needn'the in- such a: hrurry ,toego,'; she said, withasscowl .; .i''v? got something' to say to you first. I'm very much put out this morning.' ............ ...... ' Yes, papap. :Is your gout .very-bad '.. 'It's not the gout--it's; my temper,' said Lord Castlehlurat, unnecessarily. ';I have received a letter this morning-an insoler.t .letter-the greatest insult: I have ever ireceived in my life-and it is on your account. . You -_remember. that young Esmonde who:was here 1' 'Yes,' replied Adgla; with steady eyes. 'He wanted to marry you, and I was angry with you because you would not have him ; but you should not marry:him now if he were twice the Oirasus that lie is.. That. confounded old Pharisee 'Sir Patrick has dared to write and tell me that.you are not good enough for his son; arid,i not content with that,-he puts in every gratuitous insult he can think of. If I were a younger man I would have hiti: out for it-I:would, by George !' ' May I sea the letter, p pa l' said Adula) with couipres ed lips. ' No-yuu may, not I' replied bile Ea.l, turning upon her with':a snarl' like' that of hungry animst, ' D'ye 'think I am going to let you see the-old 'scandals that he has raked up againist me-the fiend I He says pretty things at,out.you', and Elizabeth too, the old villain I But. I'yo .told you all you need to know. You roust think no more of Captain Esmonde. Sir Patrick vows that, if his son marries without his consent, he will cut him off with a-shilling,'and he has the power to do it. He would do ib-he would be cer tain to do it I "And, if he once gets his back .up, nothing on earth will move him. But I anm s proud as he is. And it isn't 'only a question of money.. Sir Patrick his insulted me in a.way that I can.never forgive.;. but'I would rather, marry -you to- a _ctossing swieper thaii let you become the wife of a son of.his ! 'Mind that, Adela-you are to have no more to do.with that fellow l' ' am' not likely to,' said Adela. quietly, though her face was scarlet. 'You need not be afrail. There is no quiesbion of any such tihing now. : But, in spite of this assurance, she went down to luncheon with' a whirling brain and a heavy heart. 'Lord Tressilian, who had corben in -with three of his sporting com panions,-wag furious because she had kept them "waiting %. few minutes, and she was obliged to' "dismiss the. many thoughts and conjectures-which came thronging into her mind in order so exert herself to entertain her brother's guests and make the meal pass off with tolerable pleasantness. She had nothing in common with these racing men, and the subtjects that they discussed were utterly without interest for her ; but she had been sufficiently schooled in her duties of 'hostess to listen so graciously to the disquisi tions of her neighbor at table on bunting matters that he went away with the agree able impression that he possessed great conversational gifts. -TO BE OONTiNUED]